Overall good Fleece or down sweater?

7:50 p.m. on November 30, 2010 (EST)
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Hey all, I'm looking at purchasing nice softshell something (fleece, down, etc...) . I was wondering if anyone has any opionions on anything. I'd mainly be using this for light-medium activity. Just being outside in cold weather mainly. I've heard good things about Patagonia but I really have no idea where to start looking.I should add I don't want a hood so I can layer with a outer jacket.  I'm looking at spending no more then $300. Also if anyone has a good opinion on winter pants that would also be appreciated.

8:49 p.m. on November 30, 2010 (EST)
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would you just be standing around outside or would you be doing something? What are some of the activities you might be doing?

11:44 p.m. on November 30, 2010 (EST)
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Hmmm, I'm a little confused, because you mentioned softshell, but your title said "down sweater".  But I understand there's confusion in the industry over the term "soft shell", so who knows what it really means :).

This Fall I bought a Marmot Zeus jacket  (http://www.trailspace.com/gear/marmot/zeus-jacket) (very similar to what Patagonia calls a down sweater) and so far I really love it.  I took it with me on a recent day trip snow shoeing near Tahoe, and it worked out really great.  It weighs about 15 oz and stuffs into a tiny space in my pack.

I didn't wear it while actively snowshoeing of course.  Instead, each time I stopped, I replaced my sweaty shirt with a dry Patagonia R1 hoody, and slipped the Zeus over that.  It was super comfortable and warm (temp was, I'm guessing, 30-ish, maybe a little colder late in the day as the sun went down, so not really cold... though when the breeze was blowing, the wind chill felt much lower).

I compared this to the Patagonia down sweater and found the Marmot more comfortable on me.  In particular, it's nice and lofty around the neck, helping to stop drafts.  Overall the Marmot feels loftier than the Patagonia.

The one down side some people complain about is the front side is bulky, so it gives you the appearance of being rather, ummm, rotund, even if you're actually slim.  But, hey, whatever :).

Anyway I'm not sure if this is what you had in mind or not... but if you go for this one, shop around, as you can find it for significantly less than the $165 msrp.

Here's I am modeling (:-) a Marmot Zeus jacket over a Patagonia R1 hoodie.


_DSC7059.jpg

 

6:53 a.m. on December 1, 2010 (EST)
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Hey all, I'm looking at purchasing nice softshell something (fleece, down, etc...) . I was wondering if anyone has any opionions on anything. I'd mainly be using this for light-medium activity. Just being outside in cold weather mainly. I've heard good things about Patagonia but I really have no idea where to start looking.I should add I don't want a hood so I can layer with a outer jacket.  I'm looking at spending no more then $300. Also if anyone has a good opinion on winter pants that would also be appreciated.

 I live in Southern Ontario, Canada.  I grew up in Pembroke Ontario (6 hours north of where I am right now) and went to college in Minne'snow'ta...yes Minnesota!  I have experienced 'cold' in many different regards...wet,dry,blizzard - you name it, I've been in it!  I was watching the Monday night football game this week (SF 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals) and it was in Arizona.  The roof was closed because of 'the cold' and it was barely at the freezing point.  However, the announcers went on about how 'cold' it was and how glad they were the roof was closed,,lol.  It was a balmy -10 degrees celcius for the Grey Cup (CFL championship game) last week and the players were happy that it was 'warm enough' to play and not -30 degrees celcius like most years.  Everyones perception of the weather is different and based on a tonne of factors.

I can help you however please answer the following so that you can get the best advice possible =)

1. What is 'cold' to you (degrees F or C) and is the wind a factor where you are at?  If so, how windy is it on average?

2. Weight/height/age?

3. If you had to rate your activity level from 1-5...1 being sitting down outdoors ex. ski lift operator 5 being constantly aerobic ex. you ski every bdouble black diamond run from dusk till dawn and dont rest till you fall over.

These basics will well determine the right material you should seek out in the garment you choose.  In addition, with this information you can get the perfect fit based on you and the activity you are doing.

Lemeno so I can assist you in the best possible manner.

Thanks and I look forward to steering you in the right direction =)

Reedr

7:38 a.m. on December 6, 2010 (EST)
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Sorry for the delay I've been really buisy lately. Well let's say temps are between 0&30 ish not to cold and the wind is usually breezy but does get rather windy. Even if its rated for warmer then my temps I'm ok with that because a friend and I do alot of traveling so who knows where we end up. I'm 5'10 200lb &21 yrs old. Also activity level between 1&3 probably nothing more.

1:31 p.m. on December 6, 2010 (EST)
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Nice one.

To me down is for standing and sofshell is for moving. There are an infinite number of both. Warmer, more breathable, waterproof, water resistant etc etc.. If youre planning on moving outside you should plan for a good sofshell. The real question you should ask yourself: Is a softshell really what I need? Because if you are going to "Just be outside in cold weather mainly" I would recommend a good three in one jacket. Something like the Trio jkt from Outdoor research could be a good place to start. That way you would have a synthetic filled liner and a three layer waterproof jkt. Both of them make an ok winter jacket if you add a little layer underneath and separatly you can actually cover the rest of the year with it.

Have a good winter, hope it helps. 

4:12 p.m. on December 6, 2010 (EST)
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http://www.steepandcheap.com/?avad=18493_ac69d05

Backcountry.com luft down sweater: $87.99 (1/2 price) on above site right now. keep your eyes out, as they're quick deals...

I have one and it weighs less than 8 oz. with a 30D pertex microlight shell, 6 pockets, and an athletic fit (you'd need a L or XL depending on your shoulders). Lifetime warranty, made in Canada, 750 goose down and 100g Primaloft on the underarms where you perspire.

4:15 p.m. on December 6, 2010 (EST)
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I've had great experience with Polartec Windpro fleece. It is DWR treated, is very wind resistent (more than any other pure-fleece I've tried) and insulates very well. Lowe Alpine makes beautiful ones that can be had on Sierra Trading Posts for deep discounts.

7:39 p.m. on December 6, 2010 (EST)
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Hey XterroBrando thats bringing up a link to a kite thing haha. That actully looks cool. Louis-Alexis I have a jacket like the one you stated well sort of it's a Columbia Titanium something with a removable fleece inside and a hardshell . I was looking for something that could be worn by itself or possibly layered with. Can you Layer with a down sweater? I'm a complete noob when it comes to this stuff.

7:51 p.m. on December 6, 2010 (EST)
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I wear an inexpensive Columbia fleece jacket in winter. I'm wearing it in my picture taken in Yosemite. If it gets colder, I have a down parka (2 of them-one for really cold weather). I also wear a light rainjacket over the fleece and a Patagonia Capilene midweight top under it. Works fine for skiing or snowshoeing. I've also worn it downhill skiing when I don't want my one piece ski suit.

12:19 a.m. on December 7, 2010 (EST)
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Well it's this kind of a broad question. So I'll give a you a breadown of what I use.

Down sweaters:

Marmot Zeus-As mentioned in another post you can't really go wrong with this jacket. I use it for everything from hiking to running around town. I recently wore it to a Bears game (Go Bears!) and I was fine. It's lite but has 700 fill down. Plus you can find it pretty cheap on-line.

Eddie Bauer/First Ascent Downlite Sweater- Pretty reasonable cost wise and will probably be on sale during the holidays. Plus it's 800 fill down.

Fleeces

I'm a Mountain Hardwear guy so excuse my homerism.

Octans full zip fleece. Great warmth for a mid-layer and is very stylish.

Microgrid Fleece- Almost the same as the Octans but is a half zip. Again very warm and stylish.

I've seen these at some of the big box stores like Dick's for almost $30.00 off list price.

1:32 p.m. on December 7, 2010 (EST)
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"Hey XterroBrando thats bringing up a link to a kite thing haha. That actully looks cool. Louis-Alexis I have a jacket like the one you stated well sort of it's a Columbia Titanium something with a removable fleece inside and a hardshell . I was looking for something that could be worn by itself or possibly layered with. Can you Layer with a down sweater? I'm a complete noob when it comes to this stuff."

My bad 7bridges! goto Backcountry.com and search "stoic luft down sweater". That link was to the deal of the moment site affiliated w/ backcountry.com's outlet site. Great deals there. I have last years version of the Luft down sweater and got it for $29...

4:10 p.m. on December 7, 2010 (EST)
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Hey XterroBrando thats bringing up a link to a kite thing haha. That actully looks cool. Louis-Alexis I have a jacket like the one you stated well sort of it's a Columbia Titanium something with a removable fleece inside and a hardshell . I was looking for something that could be worn by itself or possibly layered with. Can you Layer with a down sweater? I'm a complete noob when it comes to this stuff.

 That is because Steep and Cheap is one deal at a time good till it is sold out or the 5 minutes is up.  Good site, I've bought stuff there before but you need to be constantly watching it to get the deal.  I have literally missed out on deals on this site beacuse I wasnt fast enough...some items, in the 'count' of 200, have sold out in 3-5 seconds! 

*Bump

 Im still catching up.

4:56 p.m. on December 7, 2010 (EST)
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Sorry for the delay I've been really buisy lately. Well let's say temps are between 0&30 ish not to cold and the wind is usually breezy but does get rather windy. Even if its rated for warmer then my temps I'm ok with that because a friend and I do alot of traveling so who knows where we end up. I'm 5'10 200lb &21 yrs old. Also activity level between 1&3 probably nothing more.

 Okay...just the info I needed.

To help you out I am gonna give you some materials you should look out for when purchasing this garment and perhaps 1 or 2 specific suggestions.  It is hard to know what your local gear shops carry on a regular basis (everyone is different) hence the material selection being key.  Most 'materials' are shared amongst all major manufacturers so therefore all you need to do is pick something out according to your taste!

1. Based on the temperatures, your weight, activity level the wind conditions (in general) and I am going to recommend either;

a/ Polartec® Thermal Pro fleece (there are two versions, one is higher loft or for slightly colder conditions...you can decide what is idea for you after looking at the link =)

here is a link to the fabric...http://www.polartec.com/warmth/polartec-thermal-pro-high-loft/default.aspx

Recommendation; Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man Fleece.  Here is the Trailspace review - http://www.trailspace.com/gear/mountain-hardwear/monkey-man-jacket/

or

2. schoeller®-WB-400 (this is a hard fabric to locate in North America but is widely used in Europe however, there are a few select manufacturers 'here' that recognize that it is probably the best soft shell fabric available today)

here is a link to the fabric...http://www.schoeller-textiles.com/en/fabric-groups/soft-shell/schoeller-wb-400.html

Recommendation; Mammunt Laser Jacket.  Here is the Trailspace review - http://www.trailspace.com/gear/mammut/laser-jacket/

I have been waiting for you to respond.  We are all busy so no worries about not getting back to me sooner.  I hope that this is helpful and that you post us your selection as soon as you settle on the right garment. 

Enjoy your winter season and anytime you are heading to Southern Ontario, Canada look me up.  You can PM me at rdagg@hotmail.com if you'd like!

Regards,

Reedr

11:31 a.m. on December 8, 2010 (EST)
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I wouldn't layer with down for any kind of physical activity. Period. But I would buy a zeus jkt on any given day if I had the spare change. Let me explain. Having a good down jkt to go to, is always nice in cold temp. No matter what it is or how much you paid. (Although the cheaper the better, and as you continue to experience the outdoors you'll see that buying life-thrusting but expensive gear, becomes second nature;-) As for moving, keep it up with your old coat until you're ready to change it. You can upgrade your current "ensemble" by buying a good sofshell to replace your old fleece, wich by now I've guessed is what you are really looking for. All the suggestion by rdagg are exellent and respect your price range. There are too much good product to start calling them all out. Best Way? Start shopping and come back here with what is readily available to you. As for winter pant remember that there as good as what you put underneath. I use a soft shell pant from Marmot called the Spiral pant. It was made for the alpine world, is stretchy, blocks the wind and has a good breathability level. For the level of activity your gaonna do get something waterproof.  A good two layer well cut skiing pant. By well cut, I mean dont get something that was made to look good in a chairlift. The motion or Tamarack pant from Marmot. Make sure it's not insulated and wear the appropriate layer underneath and you'll be fine.

Hope it continues to help. 

8:33 p.m. on December 14, 2010 (EST)
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Well I listened to everyone's advice I went to Ramsey outdoors and tried on a few. The one that felt most comfortable to me was the Patagonia down sweater they also had a 20% off coupon so I got it for $160. So far so good I h e not really tested it yet. This morning was 18 and light snow and it did fine with just a long sleeve shirt underneath. The Guy that worked there said you can't go wrong with dither the marmot or the Patagonia its up to preference and fit. So I went with the Patagonia. Thanks everyone for the help.

10:34 a.m. on December 15, 2010 (EST)
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I will bet you did not realize what would happen when you asked if anyone had an opinion on this topic!We all do and they are all valid for the one makeing the post.For me,like others have posted,one garment does not serve all functions well.So here goes.I use 3 items in most case's,very generalized statement,An OR windblocker fleece jacket,Mt Hardware windblocker fleece vest and a Mont Bell down sweater.For on the move,skiing or what ever,the vest works great for me.If very windy and cold the jacket is the hot tip.Around camp the sweater,7oz,is perfect under the jacket or on its own.Over many years of outdoors adventure we all figure out what works as "our" setup.If i had to buy just one item to get started it would be the windblocker jacket of your choice.ymmv 

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